Friday, November 18 2022
Feast of Christ the King
Sunday, November 20, 2022
This Sunday, the Church celebrates the Feast of Christ the King.
The history of this special feast is relatively young – going back to 1925, shortly after the end of World War I. Pope Pius noted that even as the world was no longer at war, there was no true peace. He abhorred the rise of class divisions and nationalism and contended that true peace could only be found under the Kingship of Christ as our ”Prince of Peace.” His hope was that nations would begin to see that the Church has the right to freedom and immunity from the state, that leaders of those nations would begin to show respect to Christ, and that the faithful communities would be strengthened and encouraged from celebrations of this feast. Pius wanted this feast to inspire the laity when he said, “The faithful, … by meditating upon these truths, will gain much strength and courage, enabling them to form their lives after the true Christian ideal… He must reign in our minds…in our wills…in our hearts… in our bodies and in our members which should serve as instruments for the interior sanctification of our souls, or to use the words of the Apostle Paul, as instruments of justice unto God.”
Given the state of the world today, it still seems like a sound feast to observe and to ponder.
What is the nature of true Kingship?
The celebration of the Feast of Christ the King became a part of the Episcopal liturgy in the 1990’s as we adopted the use of the Revised Common Lectionary. It is the culmination of our Church’s liturgical year, the end of ordinary time, during which we journeyed with Christ through the gospel of Luke and have now arrived at the crucifixion. In one short week, we begin Advent climaxing in the birth of Christ. But this Sunday, we have liturgically arrived with Luke, to Good Friday. We worship a crucified king – a gentle but focused man whose life was lived in nonviolence – a man who dedicated himself to healing and feeding the poor, lost and disenfranchised. What does it mean to worship the One who died nonviolently on the cross and offers forgiveness, not vengeance?
What kind of King is Jesus?
Jesus taught us to trust in a loving and merciful Father and to pray to Him for all our needs. We are precious children of one heavenly Father so we have been called to treat one another with love, respect, and forgiveness. Jesus lived what he taught by caring for all those he met by healing the sick – a sign of God’s love at work; and by forgiving those who put him to death.
As the Good Shepherd, Jesus gathers us in – leaving none behind. He is willing to speak truth to power and his shepherding encourages us to lay our burdens down and come to him for rest.
As we proclaim Jesus as our King, we at St. John’s have been called to follow him, to identify with him, to make him the center of our lives, extending our loving ‘Jesus’ arms to all we encounter – whether in our sanctuary, on our city streets or in the margins of our world.
In Christ’s love,